Aciturri will now assemble the fuselage for the first Lilium Jet at its facility in Valladolid, Spain. From there, the fuselage will be delivered to the Lilium facility in Wessling, Germany, for final assembly. All of this is set to happen before the end of 2023, in line with the German company's target for the first piloted flights. The test flight campaign is due to start towards the end of 2024.
This initial unit will be the first in a series of seven aircraft. Lilium says it will use these first production jets to finalize the type certification process.
Earlier this month, the manufacturer secured another strategic partnership with a tier-one cockpit and cabin windows supplier. Saint-Gobain Aerospace will provide custom-designed windows for the future electric jet. The windshields will be adapted specifically for optimal visibility and bird-strike resistance. The cabin windows will also be designed to limit fogging and icing for better visibility.
At the moment, Lilium claims to be the only eVTOL manufacturer on track to certify a power lift eVTOL aircraft with both EASA (The European Union Aviation Safety Agency) and the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration).
The power lift eVTOL features DEVT (Ducted Electric Vectored Thrust) technology, developed in-house by the German startup. This technology was coupled with an innovative aircraft design – the future jet won't have fixed wings or a tail, and its engines will be integrated into the wing flaps.
All of this is meant to improve aerodynamic efficiency, reduce noise levels, and allow for a bigger payload while also making the Lilium jet easier to operate.
It all started with the idea of adapting jet engine technology to an all-electric aircraft, which would be a first in the AAM (Advanced Air Mobility) industry. Since jet engines power more than 90% of existing aircraft, Lilium wanted to come up with electric jet engines using a single-stage rotor/stator system that's driven by an electric motor.
In the meantime, the German startup has also secured customers worldwide, including an exclusive collaboration in the UK for a luxury private jet version of its air taxi.